Today in History: Veteran’s Day

Today is November 11 and it is Veteran’s Day.

Veteran’s Day is a holiday in the United States which honours military veterans.  In other parts of the world the day is known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in honour of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

President Woodrow Wilson first commemorated the day in 1919, stating:

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.

Congress passed an Act in 1938 proclaiming the 11th day of the 11th month as a federal holiday.  It wasn’t until 1953 that the idea of a day celebrating all veterans, not just those who served in World War I, to be honoured.  The change to Veterans Day was passed into law in 1954.

The day is usually observed with ceremonies and parades.  Federal government offices are closed, but some state and local offices may choose to remain open.

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